Mother’s Day and joint custody present a difficult challenge — if it’s Daddy’s turn, what’s the best way to handle the holiday?
If you think of Mother’s Day as an emotional holiday, you’re not alone. Splitting custody of children is not easy — especially when holidays roll around — but there are ways to make the process smoother.
First, brush up on the basics. Check your parenting plan agreement and see if the arrangement includes an exception for Mother’s Day. Most parenting plans will include clauses for special days (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on).
If you have one, you’re in luck: custody is straightforward when its spelled out in a document. Even if it’s Daddy’s turn for custody, a Mother’s Day exception clause will grant possession for the holiday.
Of course, life is not always so easy. If you check your joint custody agreement and find no exception for Mother’s Day, the best step is to open a dialogue with your former spouse. Take the time to talk to your child’s other parent and see if you can come to an agreeable solution.
At its core, asking for custody over the holiday is a bit like asking for a favor. The father is not legally required to oblige you — keep that in mind! Present your case in a friendly, agreeable manner and try to keep emotions out of it. The moment anger comes into play, the chances of coming to an agreement vanish.
Even if your parenting agreement does not allow for Mother’s Day custody, check your local state laws and regulations. Some states, like Texas, have statewide provisions that grant mothers possession during the holiday. It’s worth a quick check or phone call with your lawyer to double-check!
Alternatively, you could seek to modify your existing parenting agreement. You can do this by speaking to your lawyer about changing the custodial agreement. This is a big step — and not an easy one — so try to think of it as a last resort. It’s always better to come to an amicable, mutually agreeable solution with your former partner.
It goes without saying, but always abide by the rules of your parenting agreement. If visitation or custody is not granted during Mother’s Day, stick with the letter of the law. Likewise, if your former partner violates the custody agreement, remember the law is on your side.
Depending on your relationship with the father, reaching an agreement regarding Mother’s Day might be a tall order.
Offer a bit of quid pro quo. Mother’s Day custody in exchange for Father’s Day may work as a compromise. Alternatively, depending on the specifics of your custody agreement, you may be able to ‘swap’ visitation days. In general, try to be accommodating and polite — the more you are willing to work with your former partner, the better.
Offering “make up” weekends is a great way to garner some goodwill with a former spouse as well. Going out of your way to show that your child values time with both parents will be much appreciated!
Mother’s Day is a time when emotions run high and tempers may flare. Dealing with joint custody issues is not easy — even if we wish it were — so take the time to communicate.
See if it’s possible to swap custody days to make room for Mother’s Day. Alternatively, consider offering some “make up” days to sweeten the deal. You may also consider modifying your parenting agreement to include possession on specific holidays.
Whatever path you take, open communication with your child’s other parent is key.
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